Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hooked on slow cooking

I've been using my new slow cooker a lot this fall, and enjoying it very much. I was going to spring for the fancy-schmancy VersaWare model but instead found a suitable substitute at Sears, where I used a handy-dandy gift card.

I'm using recipes from a couple of cookbooks in my collection, and from the Better Homes and Gardens website, which has an amazing recipe collection. Whether you're looking for elegant or simple, healthful or decadent, easy or complicated, you'll find something for dinner browsing through their online slideshows.

The beauty of gardening is that when you find a recipe calling for butternut squash, say, you don't have to run to the grocery to buy a squash. It's right there in your, er, my garage, along with the cushaws and spaghetti squashes. (How about that … reaping and eating in the first three paragraphs!)

The downside of the BH&G website is that they also have an amazing collection of dessert recipes. The holidays are approaching, and there's nothing I like better than baking cookie gifts. I've been studying and printing cookies recipes for a couple of days, preparing for this once-a-year recreational activity. To me, baking is relaxing, creative and rewarding. As long as I remember to give most of it away, it's not even too hard on my waistline.

Knitting: I cast on for Little Red Riding Hood's poncho, using a double-strand of an ancient red-and-white tweed cotton/wool/acrylic blend I've had in my stash. This will be a good use for it. I've already tweaked the pattern to knit it in the round (because I'd rather knit than sew) instead of pieces which have to be connected to each other in the finishing stage. When it comes to the hood, I'll use instructions from the fabulous Wonderful Wallaby pattern, which I've made countless times. So, really, I'm not using the Paton's pattern much at all, except for a general idea of how many stitches to cast on.

I tweak recipes like that, too. Heh.

Running? I mixed in a little bit yesterday on the four-mile walk. The weather was perfect, and promises to be so all this week. I didn't need to wear a jacket and was plenty warm by the time I trotted up the driveway 64 minutes later. Four 16-minute miles doesn't sound very impressive, but at the risk of repeating myself, I'm short and my route is very hilly. So even if you're not impressed, I am.

Nothing like tooting your own horn!


gingersnapper said...

Oh yeah, it's a good time of year to bring out the slow cooker! The only thing is, I'm afraid to leave it on when I'm not home. Especially now that we have a cat; I'm afraid he'll burn himself on it, or that it will catch the house on fire. So I only use it when I'm home, which is when I have time to cook anyway.

oh well...

Debbi said...

When I don't have enough counter space to plug it in indoors, I've been known to put the slow cooker on a metal table on the porch and use the outside outlet. The disadvantage is the house doesn't fill up with the yummy aroma of whatever's cooking. But it seems to me to be a safe alternative.

Linda said...

I just love slow cooking. i can cook healthy menu for the whole family even if i go out for work..its really useful and i love your post